Florida Governor Ron Desantis has already decided that public universities are to return to classes this fall after classes were halted mid-spring and quickly transitioned online. Top public universities, such as UF, FSU, USF, and UCF, have announced they will be offering a mixture of online, hybrid, and in person classes.
In the past month, Florida went from having 3,000 cases a day to nearly 10,000, with a total of 360K cases. When classes were halted in the spring, there were 2 in the state.
I asked fellow students who will be new or returning college students in the fall how they felt about returning and what their plans were. Not all will be returning to a university in Florida, but majority will.
Some responses have been edited
"Sophomores will not be returning to Dartmouth this fall. While I am heartbroken to be away from a place I love for so long, I know that even if we were to go back, it would not be the same... I respect the college's decision, for they have a better understanding of the situation that we do." - S.E
"Can't wait, really hope the bathroom maintenance gets better. Want to get back on campus badly, even though things might be a little different" - M.M
"I'm a little concern considering Tampa is one of the hotspots for COVID-19. On one hand, I believe staying home would be the wiser and safer choice to do, but on the other hand, I want to go to college because everyone deserves to experience the best 4 years" -H.B
"F*** Rona I can't wait for this s*** to be back. Ima party harder than ever, idc about school. Ima go to class. I ain't no b****" -B.C
"I think it's dumb, there's no way to be on campus safely, or a way for them to properly clean everything as much as they need" -H.Z
"I feel like part of the college experience is going out and meeting new people and joining academic clubs and stuff and now all of that is going to be completely different or taken away completely. I understand the reason for mainly online but its still sad that many incoming freshman won't get the full college experience" -M.C
"I'm going to do online since ya know Florida is the world epicenter of corona" -N.K
"Tbh I understand the necessity for certain in person classes to be offered bc of ICE screwing students. But otherwise remote learning should still be the focus as that is the safest option in the current climate rather than forcing a full reopening when Florida is hitting record numbers of COVID." -P.R (ICE policy has been reversed since originally sent in)
"Personally don't wanna pay all that money to go back for such a restrained experience. But I have to go back because if I don't I could lose my scholarship. But more importantly I lose my on campus housing and I don't have the money to go off campus. So I'm stuck going back even though I don't want to." -C.O
"I want to go back to in person class, but I am concern on how they will implement social distancing for crowded classrooms" -C.C
"I am honestly very excited about returning to school. Of course my schedule is different than that of a high schooler's so I have less of a chance of being exposed to the virus... I am a music major so it's pretty much impossible to wear a mask.. I'm not that afraid. I am afraid though because I'll be living with me 80+ year old grandmother" -S.B
"I don't think it's a good idea, Florida is literally the epicenter for COVID-19, why on earth schools would open up is beyond me" -C.R
Personally, half of my classes got moved online so far and half will be held in person, mostly labs, which in my opinion are hard to hold online and I would rather them be in person. I will be living at home and commuting to campus, something I did before the pandemic anyway. I'm glad the university is allowing those who don't want to return to stay home and take online classes, or even return to campus/off campus housing and continue their studies online. I think this will lessen the crowd at the university for those with classes that need to be held in person.
Im not afraid to return in the fall, but it's definitely something to be worried and cautious about. Things will be different. Schools will need to step up and ensure their students are receiving fair and accessible education that they are paying for. They'll need to step up to ensure they are taking the steps needed to keep those on campus safe.